The Bank of Latvia compiles Credit Institution Payment Statistics twice a year as of 1998. The above statistics and payment statistics of the Bank of Latvia, Latvijas Pasts and The State Treasury enable to assess the overall payment statistics in Latvia.
The payment statistics in Latvia includes data on the volume of payment instruments, value of payment instruments, volume of transactions per type of terminal, value of transactions per type of terminal, OTC cash transactions, book-entry transactions, number of customer accounts, number of cards, number of terminals, their networks and virtual POSs for cards and e-money.
For the statistical data and their analysis up to 2007 (inclusive), see issues No.1 and No.4 of the Bank of Latvia "Monetary Review" and as of 2008 - issue No.4 of the Bank of Latvia "Monetary Review", the Bank of Latvia Annual Report and the Bank of Latvia website.
As of the second half of 2009, the analysis of statistical data is available on the Bank of Latvia website (see below).

Latvia's payment statistics
Data from 2014/II

Latvia's payment statistics
Worksheets are updated on a semi-annual basis (I/1998-I/2014) 

LATVIA'S CUSTOMER PAYMENT STATISTICS FOR THE SECOND HALF OF 2017

Overall, 441.2 million non-cash payments totalling 248.1 billion euro were executed in 2017 (i.e. averaging more than 1.3 million payments a day). In comparison with 2016, the number of non-cash payments increased by 10.5%.

The most popular non-cash payments were card payments and customer credit transfers, constituting 61.6% and 37.9% of the total number of non-cash payments respectively. To ensure card payments and the use of payment cards, 2.3 million payment cards were issued in Latvia as at the end of 2017 (1.2 cards per capita[1] ; most of them were cards with a debit function, i.e. cards that do not use a credit from bank). 41.6 thousand points of sale (POSs) and 1 016 ATMs were available to the public. Overall, at the end of 2017, the number of customer payment accounts totalled 4.0 million or 2 current accounts per capita in Latvia.

Latvijas Banka implemented a very important innovations project in 2017 enabling Latvia to become the first euro area country to introduce the instant payment infrastructure already in August. It is an innovative payment system which is based on the latest information technologies and provides an opportunity to transfer money from an account in one bank to an account in another bank within a matter of 1–3 seconds on any day and at any time of the day, including weekends and holidays.

Thanks to strategic thinking and well-timed action, at the close of 2017 Latvia ranked first in Europe as regards the number of instant payments made, handling over 5 000 instant payments a day, including a large number of payments also outside the traditional banking hours, previously closed for interbank payments. By the end of 2017, the instant payment service ensured by Latvijas Banka processed 79.5 thousand instant payments totalling 18.5 million euro.

Latvijas Banka has compiled the data on the payment instruments most-widely used by the customers of payment service providers[2] in 2017, i.e. payments, payment cards and POSs. In comparison with 2016, the total volume of non-cash payments made by customers in Latvia increased by 10.5% (to 441.2 million) in 2017, whereas the volume of card payments which is the most widely used type of payments and the volume of customer credit transfers grew by 12.0% and 7.3% respectively. The total value of non-cash payments made by customers in the second half of 2017 increased by 6.6% in comparison with the first half of 2017, whereas in 2017 overall it decreased by 14.3% year-on-year (to 248.1 billion euro; see Chart 1), mainly as a result of shrinking customer credit transfers in foreign currencies in the first half of the year.

Chart 1

The bulk of customer payments, i.e. 95.7% (422.4 million) and 90.4% (224.3 billion euro) in terms of volume and value respectively was handled by credit institutions, e-money institutions and payment institutions.

The Treasury processed a considerably smaller share of customer payments in terms of volume and value, i.e. 3.5% (15.6 million) and 9.4% (23.4 billion euro) respectively. The share of payments handled by Latvijas Pasts in total customer payments amounted to 0.7% (3.2 million) and 0.1% (133.2 billion euro) in terms of volume and value respectively, whereas the payments handled by Latvijas Banka accounted for 0.01% (0.05 million) and 0.1% (220.8 million euro) of all customer payments in terms of volume and value respectively.

The most frequently used non-cash payment instruments by credit institutions, e-money institutions and payment institutions were card payments and customer credit transfers (64.4% and 35.2% respectively; see Chart 2). Other payment instruments were used relatively seldom by the population.

Chart 2

Overall, a card payment was the most frequently employed non-cash payment instrument in 2017. 271.9 million card payments with the total value of 5.0 billion euro were made in 2017. In comparison with 2016, the volume of card payments grew by 12.0% (see Chart 3), whereas their value increased by 9.1%.

Payment cards were used by the public when shopping in person at points of sale as well as when paying by card remotely for online purchases. Although online payments continued to grow and the volume and value of those payments increased by 34.6% and 12.3% respectively over the year, 92.0% of card payments in terms of volume and 83.4% in terms of value were initiated at point-of-sale terminals (POSs) at points of sale.

Chart 3

Customer credit transfers, totalling 242.6 billion euro, amounted to 37.9% (167.3 million) of all non-cash payment instruments used in 2017. The volume of customer credit transfers rose by 7.3%, whereas the value shrank by 14.8% year-on-year. This was a result of the closure of customer accounts carried out by credit institutions servicing non-residents in the first half of the year and the associated shrinking of credit transfers in foreign currencies as well as some foreign correspondent banks leaving Latvia's market. In the second half of the year, customer credit transfers grew by 4.3% and 6.5% in terms of volume and value respectively.

At the end of 2017, there were 4.03 million customer payment accounts open in Latvia: 3.85 million accounts for payments in euro and 0.18 million accounts for payments in foreign currencies (see Chart 4). In 2017, the number of payment accounts increased by 12.8% year-on-year. On average, there were 2 payment accounts per capita in Latvia as at the end of 2017.

Chart 4

At the end of 2017, the number of issued cards had declined by 2.5% (to 2.3 million) in comparison with the end of 2016 as a result of cancelling inactive cards and card portfolio shifts observed in the first half of 2017. In the second half of 2017, the number of issued cards grew by 0.3%, with the average number of cards per capita being 1.2 at the end of the year.

Each card may have one or several functions and, if a card offers several functions, it has to be reported under each respective function. 85.7% (2.0 million) of the total number of cards were cards with a debit function making payments from customer money, while 15.8% (363.4 thousand) were cards with a credit function enabling payments using the credit granted by credit institutions. 1.0% (23.4 thousand) were cards with a delayed debit function providing an opportunity to make payments using the credit line granted by a credit institution and repay the loan in full at the end of the pre-set period (see Chart 5).

Chart 5

At the end of 2017, there were 41.6 thousand POSs in Latvia, representing an increase of 8.9% over the end of 2016 (see Chart 6), or 21.3 thousand POSs per million inhabitants (19.4 thousand POSs per million inhabitants at the end of 2016). In addition to the traditional POSs, there were 6.9 thousand virtual POSs at at the end of 2017, representing an increase of 107.5% in comparison with the end of 2016. Virtual POSs enable purchases of goods and services on the internet.

Chart 6

At the end of the second half of 2017, there were 1 016 ATMs in Latvia (a drop of 0.2% in comparison with the end of 2016; see Chart 7) or 521 ATMs per million inhabitants (512 ATMs per million inhabitants at the end of 2016).

Chart 7

In close cooperation with traders, credit institutions continued to improve card payment services to facilitate further transition to more frequent use of non-cash payments through expansion of the infrastructure available for card payments (by increasing the number of POSs in Latvia).


[1] According to the data of the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, in mid-2017 Latvia's population totalled 1 950 000.

[2] Data were provided by 16 credit institutions registered in Latvia, five Latvia-registered branches of credit institutions registered in other countries, three licensed electronic money institutions, three licensed payment institutions and one branch of a payment institution licensed in another country, Latvijas Banka and the Treasury as well as the SJSC Latvijas Pasts.